Desert Rose Fertilizer and Growing Tips

Scientifically known as Adenium obesum [a-DEE-nee-um, oh-BEE-sum], the desert rose is a succulent plant with fleshy stems and bright-hued flowers. 

The flowering plant is a species of Apocynaceae genus along with Dipladenia, from the dogbane family. 

Blooming Desert Rose (Adenium Plant)

Sun-loving Adenium plants resemble the shape of a bonsai with thick, swollen caudex and gleaming green leaves. 

It is indigenous to the Sahel regions, Southern Africa, South of the Sahara, and Southern Arabia. 

The desert rose plant boasts deep red flowers. However, through hybridizing the desert rose flowers now come in a variety of vivid colors like orange, pink, purple, crimson and white.

Since desert rose plants are native to so many regions and loved in so many cultures, they have more than one common name: 

  • Mock Azalea
  • Sabi Star
  • Impala Lily
  • Dwarf Bottle Tree

Desert roses are adaptable to many locations as long as they receive plenty of water and sun for optimum growth. 

In hot climates, these houseplants stay healthy all year long. 

Desert rose plants prefers full sun with temperatures of 70° degrees Fahrenheit (21° C) or higher. 

The flowers attract hummingbirds and pollinators like butterflies and bees. 

The desert rose plant needs fertilizer from time to time to ensure the plant gets the necessary nutrients for growing well and producing its splendid blooms.

What Is The Best Fertilizer For Desert Rose

Desert rose Adenium obesum, being low-maintenance in nature, doesn’t need a lot of fertilizer but it is a good idea to give a light feeding of balanced fertilizer. 

Generally, a well-balanced water-soluble fertilizer or a slow-release fertilizer will provide all the nutrients the plant needs. 

To encourage growth and flowering, the desert rose plant responds well to a phosphorus-rich fertilizer. Bone meal fertilizer is rich in phosphorus and a good choice for feeding desert rose Adeniums.

Details on How To Use Bone Meal in the garden.

Fertilizing Desert Rose Plants

During the winter months, the desert rose plant rests or goes into dormancy and requires little water or fertilizer. An occasional fertilizing of diluted fertilizer once per month is helpful. 

A healthy Desert rose with an established root system shows off its beautiful flowers during spring and summer.

This is when you’ll need to increase the fertilizing to your Adenium. 

Before You Begin To Fertilize Adenium

When spring arrives and before new growth begins is when you should consider repotting these bulbous beauties.

Before repotting and for general plant care check desert roses out for any pests such as spider mites or mealy bugs, that can become established during the winter months. 

Spray with insecticidal soap or Neem oil for control.

Prune out any dead wood, broken branches or stems needed to maintain shape.

More on Controlling Succulent Mealybugs 

As new growth begins keep an eye out for aphids that love to lunch on tender new growth.

When repotting or transplanting remember to use a cactus or succulent type soil mix. Mixing in some extra perlite does not hurt to improve drainage. 

Always use a pot or container with drainage holes and a well draining soil will help prevent root rot.

By the way, bulb looking caudex of the Adenium obesum perfect when grown and displayed in bonsai pots. 

Learn more about bonsai Desert Rose 

As mentioned above desert roses like a little extra phosphorus. Mix some bone meal into the potting mix before repotting. 

If your Adenium does not need repotting top dress with some bone meal and lightly water it into the soil. 

In early spring apply a slow-release fertilizer to plants or incorporate the fertilizer into the potting soil when transplanting.

Many Adenium lovers recommend supplementing with regular half strength applications of water soluble liquid fertilizer during the growing season. 

Rose Of The Desert Growing Tips

  • Adenium obesum grown in full sun will perform best
  • Use a well-draining potting soil
  • Check for pests (spider mites, mealy bugs, and aphids)
  • No overwatering – allow the soil to dry out before you water again.
  • Fertilize using slow-release fertilizer
  • Incorporate bone meal for extra phosphorus
  • Supplement during the growing season with half-strength liquid fertilizer
  • Enjoy the beautiful flowers in the garden